Sunday, April 29, 2007

Chicago Bulls make history...again!

I have a secret. In the 90s, I was a Bulls fan. Michael Jordan, Jackson, Pippen, etc. I bought Air Jordans, had a Bulls cap, watched all the Bulls games, followed the Bulls scores on the newspapers, got a Bulls pin, etc...then Jerry Krause, the former general manager for the Bulls decided that he was going to replace the champions with an entire new lineup. As a Bulls fan, I gave it a chance, but hopes of a newly revived Bulls franchise quickly evaporated (as did the NBA ratings) after the Bulls lost game after game. I watched basketball games here and there during playoffs (ie: Lakers), but it wasn't the same. They weren't the Bulls.

But thankfully, Jerry Krause left, everyone came back to the drawing board and now we're seeing for the first time in almost a decade, a new Bulls franchise that has a chance of winning...

Tonight, Bulls defeated the defending NBA champions, the Miami Heat, 92-79. Which means the Bulls won the best of 7 series by winning four straight games in a row against the Miami Heat. This is basketball history and a reminder of what the Bulls once were: record breaking champions.

"A champion hadn't been swept from the first round of the playoffs in 50 years."
Source: Washington Post, Michael Wilbon, April 30, 2007

My hats off to the Chicago Bulls. They still have a long road ahead of them, but this incidental step that made history is significant and if they win anymore games, perhaps I'll have an excuse to turn on the television.

Thoughts on George Tenet's I'm A Victim Claim

George Tenet has recently written a book about his tenure in the CIA. The book is entitled, At the Center of the Storm. In the book, he describes how he was blamed for the pre-war intelligence gathering of Iraq and that he ultimately became a scapegoat for the administration.

While I agree with Tenet that he doesn't deserve all of the blame for CIA's failures, he does deserve some of the blame.

Everyone Was Wrong
Everyone in the world thought Saddam had weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the United Nations, NATO -- you name it, they thought of it. Why? Because he used WMD against Iran and his own citizens, Iraqi Kurds. And because Saddam kept playing "bluff" to the world, rejecting inspectors over and over again.

Now what's the reason for the facade? He wanted to scare off his enemies, primarily Iran. He kept them in check. We know that now. But the majority of us didn't know back then (a handful of minority voices in the vast majority of the intelligence network had doubts about Saddam's WMD, but their voices weren't heard till more recently, after the fact).

Where Tenet Fits In
Tenet, in my humble opinion, succumbed to group mentality, or group think. Now what is group think? Wiki describes it as "...a type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas." It affects all of us in one way, shape or form. That's part of life. We aren't perfect people.

No matter how he tries to deny it, he had a choice. He rubberstamped the intelligence reports that went to the American people. If he knew factual errors or had doubts about what he was reporting to the White House, there were plenty of opportunities to voice out his opinion (or resign in protest).

Tenet's book is largely an attempt to explain his role in the war and perhaps a way to convince historians down the road that he didn't play a major role in the pre-war foul up of intelligence.

Sounds like he wants a more gracious legacy than what it looks like now.

Former CIA officers respond
Want to know what ex-CIA employees think of Mr. Tenet's tenure? Review the letter they sent to him.

See the book below if you're interested in reading Tenet's defense of himself.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Hackers enticed, Apple's Macintosh gets hacked in less than 12 hours

Time and time again we are told through TV commercials and personally I've had a discussion with Apple 'engineers' that Apple's operating system and the products that they make are invulnerable, or at the very least, it isn't very easy to hack into a Mac that's fully patched compared to Windows where you can find bugs in less than a day.

What they forget to tell you is, the majority of hackers are PC users. The majority of the world are PC users. Hence, it is logical that the majority of exploits, viruses, and spyware are geared towards PC users. BUT put up to the challenge, hackers can break into a Mac in weeks, days...less than 12 hours!

See the article below by The Register:

A New York-based security researcher spent less than 12 hours to identify and exploit a zero-day vulnerability in Apple's Safari browser that allowed him to remotely gain full user rights to the hacked machine. The feat came during the second and final day of the CanSecWest "pwn-2-own" contest in which participants are able to walk away with a fully-patched MacBook Pro if they are first able to hack it.

Picture of Shane Macaulay with back to camera sitting at MacBook in CanSecWest's pwn-2-own contestThe exploit means that Dino Dai Zovi is the rightful owner of the 2.3Ghz 15-inch MacBook Pro and a $10,000 prize offered by Tipping Point, which runs the Zero Day Initiative bug bounty program. More importantly, his work effectively throws cold water on tired claims from Apple and its many lackeys that the Mac is all but immune from the kind of security attacks more regularly perpetrated against Windows-based machines.

That's right folks, a fully patched MacBook Pro gets hacked in less than 12 hours. On a normal day, they could care less because the majority of hackers consider Apple's Macintosh operating system as a waste of time. But when you put money into the mix, sure they'll spend a few hours to break into it with ease.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech: Professor Sacrifices Life To Save Students

A tribute to Dr. Liviu Librescu

List of Accomplishments: VT Staff Page

In scenes you get to only see in movies and read about in the Bible, we hear a true to life hero that selflessly sacrificed his life for his students. Dr. Liviu Librescu, an immigrant that saved lives, is in sharp contrast to the stories we hear of the madman immigrant that killed.

Eye witness accounts state he held the door until his students could escape through the classroom's windows. He was shot down as the bullets pierced the door. A student named Alec Calhoun, 20, said the last thing he saw before he jumped from the window was Librescu, blocking the door against the madman in the hallway.

Let's highlight this man's bravery today by re-posting this bulletin throughout blogs and MySpace. He taught his class the greatest lesson of all: There is no greater love than to die for others.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Why Virginia Tech's gun policy failed its students

A sad day in the nation

Let me preface this post with my sincere condolences to those that have been hurt by the recent tragedy that occurred in Virginia Tech today. Over 20 students have been killed with over 20 more that have been injured. These young adults were innocent, and they were defenseless. I'm saddened to hear this tragedy, which could have been avoidable.

Understanding Virginia Tech's security weaknesses

No matter how you look at it, Virginia Tech's security was NOT enough. Criminals being able to come in and have a shooting rampage is unacceptable in any campus, much less such a prestigious university such as Virginia Tech.

One major problem with Virginia Tech is that it prohibits students from defending themselves with guns. Last year, Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear that a gun rights bill was defeated. The bill would have allowed legal citizens with legal concealed weapons licenses to be able to defend themselves on campus if a shooter was going to go on a rampage.

"I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus."

Source: Gun bill

Notice the word "feel". Our gun policies have been based on feelings rather than facts. Fact: Criminals own guns and will use it. Fact: Less lives would be wasted if civilians were able to shoot back. We should not go with "feelings" but rather with reason.

Instead what we have here is a tragic case of good motives but bad policy. The idea that we can somehow control criminals with laws on paper is outrageous. They will get guns, tazers, knives, or other types of weapons no matter what. Our society, our world is 'naturally' imperfect and it will never be perfect until something 'unnatural' happens. We have to understand that as a reality before we can even understand the phrase: "campus security".

Let students and teachers defend themselves

As we can see from the policy of banning legal citizens from having legal guns, it is wrong. Why? Because in this scenario, criminals are the only ones that have guns! Our society cannot be perfect; hence, we have to accept realities. And that reality is to give members of society the ability to defend themselves.

The sheep must look like a threat for the wolf to back off. Otherwise, the wolf will simply attack. Preferrably we'd want law enforcement to be at every classroom, but the tragic truth about govt budgets is, they simply can't do that.

Give students and teachers proper training. Get them through background tests. But for goodness sakes, give legal citizens the right to bear arms to defend themselves against criminals!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

8 bodies found in Fort Myers, FL -- possibly a serial killer?

The other day, I commented how I was surprised that a murdered body was found behind the Harley Davidson store in Fort Myers, FL, a stone throw away from one of my old offices [the Teleperformance / CallTech building] where I worked for almost 5 years.

Now, CNN and other media channels are taking a look at 8 skeletons also found just a few miles away, which may, some have speculated, is the result of a serial killer (yikes!):

"Fort Myers police have been deluged with media calls after an Associated Press report hinted police believed eight human skeletons found in a wooded area off Arcadia Street on March 23 were the work of a serial killer."

Source: NewsPress

Friday, April 13, 2007

Murdered man found behind Ft Myers Harley Davidson, near CallTech/Teleperformance

Matthew Haller, 23, of 15513 Monterosso Lane in Naples, was found dead by a city garbage collector at about 3:43 a.m. in the driver's seat of a blue 1985 Mercedes, Fort Myers police said. Authorities are investigating his death as a homicide. The Mercedes was taken from the scene, at 2160 Colonial Boulevard, to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement facility for processing, police said. Matthew apparently had a gunshot wound.

The car was located right behind the Harley Davidson store. The plaza shares its space with a Cuban bar/restaurant and CallTech / Teleperformance. Having worked in that vicinity for 5 years, I find it very surprising that crime has increased there tremendously. Before it was just people getting rowdy at the bar, or at worst, people stealing from the parking lot.

Now a murder. Yikes!

Last three NJ governors = broken legs

Governor Corzine of NJ had severe injuries the other day from a car accident. He broke his leg and suffered other injuries. Thankfully, no one died but the accident has added a strange footnote in history...

The injury to Corzine's left leg means that the last three people elected to serve as New Jersey governor have all broken a leg while in office. Fellow Democrat James E. McGreevey broke his left leg during a nighttime beach walk, while Republican Christie Whitman broke her right leg while skiing in the Swiss Alps.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sen. Patrick Leahy says emails cannot be erased

I read an interesting article today where Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont (Democrat) states that e-mails cannot be erased.

His statement is as follows:

"You can't erase e-mails, not today," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont. "They've gone through too many servers. They can't say they've been lost. That's like saying, 'The dog ate my homework.' "

His critical comments are aimed towards the White House, who said they've lost some e-mails and are doing their best to recover it. Now borrowing from the senator's own words, can electronic dogs really eat electronic homework? Can e-mails actually be deleted? The short answer? Yes.

The long answer?

  • First let's correct Senator Leahy that it goes through "too many servers". The packets are transmitted through a variety of routers and switches on Internet backbones, but in the end, only two servers communicate to transmit the e-mail: the sender and receiver. [smtp]
  • The e-mail is then processed and stored, which can then be downloaded by email software, usually via pop3 or imapd. This all happens in a few seconds (assuming the 'average size' email).
  • The assumption made here by the senator is that the sender or receiver servers somehow contain or retain the e-mail indefinitely. The answer is no. The moment the user "purges" the email from his account, it does get deleted.

    • There are backup servers that may be involved in which case e-mails are not deleted and can 'easily' be recovered. This is unlikely since the White House publicly claims its been deleted. Their first attempt would to first recover it from backups versus come out embarrassingly that their emails are deleted.

  • Usually, there's copies of e-mails on the email software (ie: Microsoft Outlook's Sent Items or Outlook's Deleted Items folder). However, these folders may be purged automatically depending on the settings.
  • Any computer forensic experts knows that deleted data isn't actually deleted until the data 'space' is re-used again. Hence, if you delete a file you can still recover it for a certain amount of time since the space has not been taken up yet.

    • Imagine a bowl of cereal that you consider old and in your mind you're no longer going to eat it. You're too lazy to clean the bowl so you're just going to wait until you get new cereal before you empty that bowl. Technically, the 'old cereal' is deleted from your choice of foods but it is still there until you replace it with new cereal.
    • In the same way, files still exist on the computer until new files go on top of it.
    • If the data is too old and it's been replaced over and over again, the likelihood of recovering anything is minimal.

  • There's also crashes and data corruption. Your hard drive crashes, the mail server mail spools are corrupted, the server fails, backup disks get 'fried', etc. There are a number of ways data gets lost. No matter how rich you are, no matter how much money you've invested in a computer, there's still a likelihood that it could crash some day. That's life!

In summary, yes, you can lose your e-mail. In this case, the electronic dog can eat your electronic homework.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Jesus Tomb: Is It Fact or Fiction? Book Discredits Documentary The Lost Tomb of Jesus

Link: PRWeb

A new book says The Lost Tomb of Jesus documentary was deceptive to its viewers and illusory to the scholars that worked on the production.

Fort Myers, FL (PRWEB) April 6, 2007 - New evidence surrounding The Lost Tomb of Jesus including personal interviews by leading scholars consulted in the film, suggest the 2,000 year old Jerusalem tomb is NOT the Jesus of Nazareth’s final resting place. In the new book, The Jesus Tomb: Is It Fact or Fiction? Scholars Chime In, Don Sausa reviews all of the claims, math, and the ‘evidence’ of The Lost Tomb of Jesus, to simply answer one question: Is it fact, or fiction?

The documentary that aired on March 4th, 2007 and the companion book, The Jesus Family Tomb, come from science fiction director James Cameron, controversial journalist Simcha Jacobovici, science fiction author Dr. Charles Pellegrino, and textual scholar Dr. James Tabor.

The book’s findings suggest that some plausible explanations were conveniently ignored in the documentary, such as the different types of family relationships Jesus and Mariamne [“Mary Magdalene” could have had. For instance, they could have been father and daughter, paternal cousins, half brother and sister, or grandparent and grandchild.

“Our review of the evidence, DNA findings, statistical analysis, and personal interviews of the experts used in the film clearly show that the claims are largely based on speculation and hype,” said Don Sausa.

For additional information on the news that is the subject of this release (or for a sample review copy), contact Don Ariel at support(at) or visit Book distribution date is April 16, 2007, ISBN 0978834690. Author is available for interviews.

About author:

Author and speaker, Don Sausa, is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, an organization that promotes biblical scholarship. He has studied biblical history for over 10 years, and is an ordained elder for the Fort Myers Ortiz Church.

Monday, April 02, 2007

April Fools Jokes Around The World

Just wanted to drop a note on some 'cool' April Fools jokes.

What got me:
- said they were being added to xm satellite. Ok, Jason, that was good. You got me.

Google's Matt Cutts got hacked
Nope, the shout outs were a dead giveaway.

Google's toilet Internet service
Original, but not believable. Announcing wireless Internet would have been believable.

ThinkGeek inventions

And my favorite of all...